Says Producing Nations Should Get No U.S. Aid : Koch Calls Reagan a ‘Wimp’ in War on Drugs

Associated Press

Mayor Edward I. Koch called President Reagan “a wimp” in the war on drugs today after taking out a full-page newspaper ad urging the President to cut economic aid to drug-producing countries.

The mayor’s ad in today’s New York Times bore a black-bordered picture of a 22-year-old rookie policeman murdered last week in the drug-ravaged South Jamaica section of Queens.

“We are truly in a war with the drug pushers, but the President is not acting as the commander in chief. If anything, he’s acting as a wimp,” Koch said on “CBS This Morning.”


Koch said the ad attempted to “channel this rage that the whole city is feeling” about the killing Friday of Officer Edward Byrne, who was shot three times while guarding the house of a threatened witness in a drug case.

The $12,900 ad, paid for by Koch’s 1989 reelection committee, said Byrne was killed “by a gunman who, very probably, was acting on instructions from a New York drug kingpin.”

Reagan is expected to sign an order Tuesday exempting some countries from a law mandating cuts in economic and military aid for their failure to take adequate steps to combat drug trafficking.

Koch’s ad asks readers to send Reagan telegrams saying, “Do not sign the certifications for foreign aid to Mexico, Panama, the Bahamas, Haiti, Paraguay, Colombia or any other drug source country.”

The mayor also urged readers to send telegrams to members of Congress, asking them to vote against certificates of aid to drug source countries if Reagan approves the aid.